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Autism linked to vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy



Vitamin D

A study, published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry, has revealed that pregnant women with low vitamin D levels when they were 20 weeks pregnant were more likely to have a child who displayed autistic traits by the age of 6. For the study, researchers analyzed approximately 4,200 blood samples from pregnant women and their children in the Netherlands.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, and people often get it from being exposed to the sun. However, it’s also possible to get doses of the vitamin from some foods and vitamin supplements.

Autism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are terms for a group of disorders of brain development, according to the autism awareness organisation Autism Speaks. The disorders are characterized by “difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.” ASD may be linked to “intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention, and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal issues,” the organisation says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in 68 children has the disorder, and it’s 4.5 times more common in boys than girls.

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is fairly common in pregnant women, women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, tells Yahoo Beauty. According to data from the American Pregnancy Association, between 40 and 60 percent of the entire U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, and those numbers include pregnant women.

While prenatal vitamins include vitamin D, Wider notes that average versions contain about 400 IU of the vitamin, which may not be enough. “After this study and others like it, doctors will likely recommend supplementation,” she says.

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Vitamin D
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  • wbgrant

    Gestational vitamin D deficiency and autism-related traits: the Generation R Study.
    Vinkhuyzen AA, Eyles DW, Burne TH, Blanken LM, Kruithof CJ, Verhulst F, Jaddoe VW, Tiemeier H, McGrath JJ.
    Mol Psychiatry. 2016 Nov 29. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.213. [Epub ahead of print]

  • Charles Sangston

    Randomized controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation in children with autism spectrum disorder.

    If your child has been diagnosed with ASD it is in your best interest to read this brief abstract.

    Unquestionably the biggest treatment breakthrough in the history of ASD.

  • Marc Sorenson

    Great article! Autism is a sun-deficiency/vitamin D-deficiency disease, a point Dr. John Cannell has been making for years. Here are a few of the reasons that he believes that lack of sun exposure and vitamin D are leading to this horror.

    •Both autism and vitamin D deficiency are associated with abnormally high inflammation.

    •Dark-skinned people are far more likely to be vitamin D deficient because they require more sun exposure to produce it. If the theory is correct, the rate of autism among black children would be higher than that among white children due to maternal insufficiency and/or infant insufficiency that would influence brain development. This is exactly the case; children of mothers who have emigrated from Uganda to Sweden, for example, have an autism rate of 15%, which is 200 times that of the general population.

    • There is a close correlation between latitude and autism among countries; the higher the latitude, the higher the rate of autism. High-latitude countries have higher rates of vitamin D deficiency due to a shorter season in which UVB is available to stimulate its production in the skin (see chapter 2). The same relationship of latitude to autism exists within the states of the USA, with northern states having higher rates of autism.

    • In winter, when sun exposure is low, birth rates of autistic children peak.

    • Rickets and autism show similar urban/rural distribution rates.

    • Rickets is an accepted vitamin D-deficiency disease, and urban children have significantly higher rates of both diseases.

    • Pregnant rural women and their children tend to be outside in the sunshine more their urban counterparts, and in urban settings, more air pollution blocks out UVB light.

    • Poor air quality is directly correlated with autism and with profoundly lower serum levels of vitamin D. For example, the Amish of Pennsylvania—mostly rural farmers—have extremely low rates of autism. According to Dr. Heng Wang, who treats Amish people in rural Ohio, their rate of autism is 1 in 1,500, compared to 1 in 166 nationally.

    • Finally, where precipitation rates are high, rates of autism are also high, suggesting a link with sun deprivation.

    For the scientific references and articles for the above statements, visit